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Hong Kong: Some VPN providers shut down servers in Hong Kong over security law concerns

Author: CNBC, Published on: 17 July 2020

“Some VPN firms shut down Hong Kong servers over security law concerns”, 17 July 2020

A number of virtual private network (VPN) providers in the U.S. and Canada have shut down their servers in Hong Kong, citing concerns over the national security law…

Technology companies are worried about provisions in the law, some of which give authorities powers to police online content, which could include requiring tech platforms and internet service providers to delete content that falls foul of the legislation.

Already, a number of major U.S. firms, including Google and Facebook, said they would pause handling requests for user data from authorities in response to the new legislation…

U.S.-based IPVanish said in a blog post that it had decommissioned its Hong Kong VPN servers and suspended operations there in order to protect “the freedoms of users in Hong Kong.”…

Located in Denver, Colorado, Private Internet Access, said… it will be “wiping and shutting down” its Hong Kong servers “because new national security laws in the region endanger the privacy of our users and all Hong Kong residents.”

… Canada-based TunnelBear said it would disable its Hong Kong servers. The VPN provider said the national security law has “led to widespread worry that this new law will hurt freedom of expression in Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC via email.

Other VPN companies said they would continue keeping their Hong Kong servers online.

ProtonVPN said it is “outraged” by the new security law but it will keep its servers in the city “not only because we believe we can keep them secure, but also because we believe in fighting for Hong Kong.”…

SurfShark, another VPN firm, told CNBC by email that it will not be shutting down servers in Hong Kong as they do not contain any user information and should be safe.

But it added that if there are “requirements from authorities to start logging user activity, we would immediately shut down our VPN servers in Hong Kong.”…

Read the full post here

Related companies: Facebook Google (part of Alphabet)